What Is a Casino?


Casino, or gambling house, is an establishment for certain types of gambling. These establishments are usually combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping and other entertainment facilities. Casinos are often located in or near cities. The term may also refer to an establishment operated by a religious, charitable or fraternal organization. In the United States, casinos are generally licensed and regulated by state governments. The largest concentration of casinos is in Las Vegas Valley, with the next highest number operating in Atlantic City and Chicago. Casinos have also been established on American Indian reservations.

Gambling has been popular throughout history and has provided a major source of income for many civilizations. While the exact origin of gambling is unknown, it can be traced to ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and Rome. Modern casinos are typically built on a glitzy and glamorous theme and offer numerous amenities for their patrons to enjoy, including food, beverages and entertainment.

A casino’s profits are generated by the bets placed on games of chance. Every game offers the casino a mathematical expectancy of winning, which can be quite small (less than two percent), but is enough to provide substantial revenue over time and millions of bets. The most popular games of chance include blackjack, roulette, craps and keno.

The popularity of these games of chance has led to the development of sophisticated security measures to protect both patrons and assets. In most modern casinos, a physical security force is combined with a specialized surveillance department to patrol the casino and respond to calls for assistance and reports of suspicious or definite criminal activity. In addition, casinos employ a variety of surveillance technologies, including closed circuit television systems and electronic devices that monitor the movement of betting chips or the spins of roulette wheels to identify anomalies.